The South And Slavery Essay, Research Paper
Mr. Wills Matt Weiss
U.S. History I April 3, 2000
The South and Slavery
The Societies of the North and South were very different. They were two regions of the country that depended very heavily on each other but yet seemed so far apart. Disagreeing on almost every aspect of how to reside and especially on very specific issues like slavery and emancipation.
The North was an industrious, moneymaking, region. They respected blacks and gave them more rights than in the South where they had none. They still were not given the same rights as whites. Theodore Weld an influential abolitionist wrote many pamphlets. In one he stated. “Reader, what have you to say of such a treatment? Is it right, just, benevolent? Suppose I should seize you, rob you of your liberty, drive you into the field, and make you work as long as you live—would that be justice and kindness, or monstrous injustice and cruelty?”(Weld 464, The Annals of America) “We will prove that the slaves in the United States are treated with barbarous inhumanity; that they are overworked, underfed, wretchedly clad and lodged, and have insufficient sleep…”(Weld 466, The Annals of America) The South made money, but the economy was based on agriculture. They did not have the factories or the work force of the North. So they turned to something even more prosperous, slavery. This peculiar institution is strongly defended, even using the Bible. William Harper wrote
The Inequality of Man in 1837, which argued that all men are not created equal. “Then inequality is further developed, and becomes infinite in every society, and under whatever form of government. Wealth and poverty, fame or obscurity, strength or weakness, knowledge or ignorance, ease or labor, power or subjection mark the endless diversity in the condition of men.”(Harper 342, The Annals of America) The South used their own slave work force to build their Cotton Kingdom.
The South had so much invested in farming cash crops and in agriculture and so little invested in factories and mass-producing goods an extreme shift such as emancipating all of the slaves would have been too much of a risk. That was all people knew and the economy could collapse. People would lose their livelihood. “…the Negro race, from their temperament and capacity, are peculiarly suited to the situation which they occupy, and not less happy in it than any corresponding class to be found in the world; prove incontestably that no scheme of emancipation could be carried into effect without the most intolerable mischiefs and calamities to both master and slave, or without probably throwing a large portion of the earth’s surface out of the pale of civilization…”(Harper 341, The Annals of America) There were a few alternatives such as hiring workers, but for most southerners this was out of the question. If the large plantation owners were forced to pay workers to do the work of a hundred or more slaves the profit loss would be huge. The workers would demand better hours than the slaves got and could quit if they did not want the job anymore. The small farmers who owned ten or less slaves would be forced to do all the work themselves because they could not afford paid labor. Even the churches and clergymen in the South supported slavery. On May 16, 1861, the Presbyterian Assembly met in Philadelphia. Only a few southern presbyteries were in attendance. When a Northern clergyman called for an oath of allegiance to the Federal Government, the Southern clergymen defected.
There were a few Northerners who agreed with the South these were the poorest whites and the immigrants. They did not want the slaves emancipated because they saw them as competition for jobs.
Many bonds were broken between the North and the South. They both had their own ways of living and own ideas of what was right and wrong. Neither would bend or give in and war was imminent.
The South and Slavery
“African American Odyssey”. 13 March 2000
The Annals of America. Vol. 6,7. Chicago: William Benton, 1968.
Miller, Steven F. Sept. 1999. 13 March 2000